New England Patriots opened up their 2016 training camp today. Over 12,000 fans filed into the practice field and bleachers Thursday morning to watch.
Third year quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had a very good first day, ending on 5 of 6 passing in an 11-on-11 two-minute drill. Fans are surely hoping that the good start is simply a sign of things to come, especially considering Garoppolo is the expected starter for the first four games of the season while Tom Brady serves a four game suspension.
Video from WEEI’s Mike Petraglia
Jimmy Garoppolo “excited” after first day with first unit pic.twitter.com/nAvGSttbrO
— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) July 28, 2016
The team runs at half speed during the first day because there are no pads and it is really just a warm up for things to come. Still, it is good to see who gets the work with which teams and what sort of shape guys are coming into camp in.
Garoppolo received the majority of the first team reps including all of the reps in 11-on-11 drills. Brady did take the very first QB rep of the day though, handing the ball off to veteran running back LeGarrette Blount.
With Dion Lewis on the PUP list, Blount saw a lot of work as a pass catcher. Brandon Bolden also had a lot of work as a pass catching back.
Lewis was also one of three players who were not at Patriots camp. The second was Nate Ebner who is currently training for Rugby in the Olympics. Special teams captain Matthew Slater wore Ebner’s No. 43 rather than his usual No. 18.
The final player who did not attend was also the biggest surprise of the day. Defensive star, Jamie Collins was missing on the field for unknown reasons.
Notes from camp:
- Wide receiver KeShawn Martin was the player in position drills who I came away most impressed with. His cuts are fluid and he looks as fast as anyone out there.
- Shaq Lawson was taken off the PUP list already and did practice.
- Rookie cornerback Cyrus Jones got some work as a kick returner and is very fast.
- Rookie wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell had a couple of drops and just a rough overall first day of camp.
- Martellus Bennett was expected to wear No. 83 but is wearing No. 88.
- Bennett and Gronkowski both got some offensive line work in.
- Cornerback Justin Coleman made the best defensive play of the day, when he batted away a Brady jump ball that was intended for Gronkowski.
- Wide receiver Aaron Dobson had a good day overall, including a nice catch in the end zone from Brady that resulted in Brady celebrating with the receiver after the play.
- Wide receiver DeAndre Carter was the last player off of the practice field after catching passes and punts from the training staff.